Having your small flock of chicken is something most homeowners embrace. It gives your home a cool, farm-like feel, and some would even say it enhances the aesthetics of the home. One thing is for sure, it provides the family plenty of eggs and chicken meat.
Birds such as crows and hawks are the most common predators of chickens. Dogs, too, can attack and even eat chickens, especially if they are starved. If you are about to get a dog, it is important to consider having a dog breed that will not harm your chickens.
Dog training is also doable for owners who desire to introduce chickens to the home. Every dog breed is capable of protecting livestock, with proper training.
Certain dog breeds have a relatively low prey drive and are generally friendlier to have chickens around than other aggressive breeds. Generally referred to as LGDs (livestock guard dogs), these dog breeds need minimal or no training to keep other farm animals protected.
Best Dog Breeds to Have Around Chickens
Let us take a closer look at some chicken-friendly dog breeds.
Also known as the Hungarian sheepdog, the komondor (plural komondrok) is great with livestock. They are large, ‘white-dreadlocked’ flock protectors.
The komondor is playful as a puppy and matures to confident, self-reliant adults by three years of age. Their coats are matted and corded. Their front legs are long, and they have a short back.
Quite muscled, a male komondor weighs between 110 and 132lbs (50-60 kilograms), while a female will weigh anywhere between 88-110lbs (40-45 kilograms).
A female komondor has a minimum height of 22.5” (65 cm). Males are 27.5” (70 cm).
The komondor will fiercely protect your livestock, children, and general household. Very loyal to their owner families, komondrok will need a patient introduction to visitors and new pets.
The komondor is best suited for homes with large yards and play areas. These dogs love to play and grow to become massive in size. What’s more, these livestock guardians are intuitive and very reliable for families with livestock.
Komondrok are demanding, large dogs. It is no wonder most families cannot meet the demand that comes with owning a komondor. If you are looking for that one dog that will be great with your chickens and kids, komondrok would be the way to go.
2. Maremma Sheepdog
The Maremma Sheepdog is a strong, built dog that resembles a polar bear. Their long, white or cream-colored coats give them their distinctive appearance.
Also known as Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog, this dog has been used by Italian shepherds over the years, mostly to guard their sheep. Because of how well they blend with sheep, it is hard to tell them apart.
This livestock guardian dog has a large, flat head and triangular ears. They are very warm towards other pets and livestock, hence why they make excellent LGDs.
A male Maremma sheepdog will weigh anywhere between 35 kilograms (77lbs) and 45 kilograms (99lbs), while a female weighs 30-40 kilograms (66-88lbs).
Training the Maremma sheepdog requires some patience, but eventually, they adapt very well. These dogs are quite friendly to their owners and children.
This livestock guardian dog is quite loyal and loving. Your chickens will be free to roam and feed outside under their protection.
The Maremma sheepdog will require a large compound to play and stretch, so it is not ideal to have them in an apartment.
3. Pyrenean Mastiff
The Pyrenean Mastiff has a relatively low prey drive, making it an ideal protector for livestock. They are strong and quite intelligent. Loyal and loving when in their home environment, the Pyrenean Mastiff is not known as an incessant barker.
They are large dogs with a heavy white coat with a mask of a darker color. Their ears have darker spots, and adults can weigh anywhere between 60 kilograms (130 lb) and 90 kilograms (200 lbs).
To their owners, these dogs are extremely loyal and protective, especially if thus trained from a young age. They will fiercely protect their owner’s livestock, pets, and children.
The Pyrenean Mastiff was traditionally used to protect sheep from predators, like wolves. A Pyrenean Mastiff needs proper training, as it may easily turn aggressive to the owner if they sense danger.
They easily adapt to different weather conditions and require indoors as much as the outdoors.
4. Anatolian Shepherd
The Anatolian shepherd is agile, quick, and very intelligent. They are named after the Anatolian peninsula in Turkey.
The Anatolian shepherd is quite large and rugged. Its vision and hearing are very sharp, that is why it makes for the perfect livestock guard dog. They will detect the slightest threat to livestock and home.
Due to their agility and speed, Anatolian shepherds will easily outrun and bear down predators. Your livestock can enjoy their yard in peace with the security of this dog.
Anatolian shepherds can sometimes be very stubborn due to their intelligence. Following commands does not come naturally to them, and they may require intense training from when they are small cubs.
It is not easy to overstimulate this dog as it is fiercely protective of its territory and family. There is a need to socialize this dog early to avoid dealing with a difficult adult.
Anatolian shepherds have a short and rough double coat, mostly fawn or brindle in color. The males weigh 50-65 kilograms (110-143lbs) while the females weigh 40-55 kilograms (88-121lbs).
Their shoulders are broad and muscular, and their heads appear strong and bold. With a long, slightly curled tail, this dog is fierce enough to guard against predators.
The Kangal is a very common livestock guard dog. Though not massive in size, Kangals are fast, efficient, and dynamic.
They have short coats and are fawn or tan in color. A Kangal’s coat will not be streaked or spotted. Their distinction is usually the black facial masks and black or shaded ears. Some Kangals have darker legs and chests and are thus easy to identify.
A male Kangal weighs 50-55 kilograms (110-145lbs) while females weigh in at 41-54 kilograms (90-120 lbs).
Kangals come off as cool, calm, and collected dogs. They are intuitive and loyal, and they love their owners fiercely.
As they are lightweight compared to other LGDS, they can reach high speeds when chasing predators.
Kangals are seldom aloof to strangers, especially if well socialized from a young age. They love children and other pets, hence their popularity as among the best livestock protectors.
They make thoughtful moves. A working Kangal will choose a comfortable position overlooking his flock, giving it a good vantage point to spot any intruders.
Kangals make for the safest dog breeds to entrust your chicken with.
Akbash is a traditional Turkish breed, popular for livestock protection. They have a white double coat and were originally used to guard herds in Turkey’s rugged terrain.
Akbash weighs in at 34-57 kilograms (75-125lbs). They are white, and their double coats shade quite heavily.
They are lean, long-legged, and quite muscular. The head has a wedge shape, their chest is deep, and they have an arched loin.
Their tails and back of the legs have longer hairs, and their ears hang down. They have a distinctive dark pigmentation around the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Akbash dogs are very conscious of their immediate environment and will raise a quick alarm by barking. Overly protective and independent, they require training to be able to follow orders and guidance.
They are brave and fierce, agile, and dependable dogs. Independent thinkers, Akbash livestock dogs will need minimal human intervention to make any necessary moves.
They make for excellent livestock guards, and will dutifully perform their task of guarding your flock. They do not require heavy meals and heavy exercise.
7. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees is common in North America and is also called the Pyrenean Mountain dog. It is different from the Pyrenean Mastiff.
The Great Pyrenees have a long, thick weather-resistant coat that is more profuse about the neck and shoulders. The hair around the face and ears is short and fine.
The males have this distinctive ruff or mane that is enough to ward off predators, making it an efficient livestock dog. Their coats are usually white, sometimes with shades of grey or tan.
A plume is formed by the longer hair on the tail, while the back of the front legs looks feathery (a pantaloons effect).
Male Great Pyrenees weigh anywhere between 50-59 kilograms (110-130lbs), while their female counterparts weigh 41-52 kilograms (90-115lbs).
The Pyrenean Mountain dog’s main unique characteristics are the declaws on each hind leg.
These livestock guard dogs are confident, affectionate, and quite gentle with children and other pets. Their general demeanor is composed, loyal, and very patient.
They make excellent livestock guards because they are very independent and territorial, needing very little if any clues to protect their flock.
As with most dogs, Great Pyrenees will require training from a young age as they can be quite stubborn and defiant.
They are large dogs that love to keep their territory safe and predator-free.
The Kuvasz is a white or light-colored LGD of a Hungarian origin.
It has a dense, double odorless coat, and although the fur is generally white, its skin pigmentation is dark, with a black nose.
A female weighs between 32-41 kilograms (70-90lbs) while males weigh 45-52 kilograms (100-115lbs).
The Kuvasz are loved dogs, often described as having a clownish sense of humor. They can be clever and cunning dogs, too.
They are not as heavily built as other livestock guard dogs, but they have the best loving personality. They love to play and take care of pets and children.
Kuvasz livestock guard dogs are protective and bark a lot, which might be a thing to consider when getting this breed of dog.
9. Polish Tatra Sheepdog
Also known as the Tatra Mountain Sheepdog, this is a rare breed of livestock guard dog today. They are mainly found in Poland, though a few hundred Polish Tatra dogs have been registered in the USA.
They have a pure white heavy coat with a curly top. Polish Tatra sheepdogs are loyal and territorial, fiercely protective of their owners and homes.
Theirs is a loud bark at the slightest provocation, and they can be amply aggressive when protecting their loved ones. This is why they make such good livestock guards.
They are calm and collected and exhibit very intelligent signs as well. They are considered great watchdogs as they will not let any predators past their watch.
They weigh anywhere between 80 and 130 lbs.
10. Spanish Mastiff
The Spanish Mastiff is a large dog, well known for its kind, warm nature. This giant breed of livestock guard dogs has its origin in Spain.
They have a large, strong head and a very alert expression. Their eyes are small but sharp, and their ears are triangular. Its big build is enough to ward off any predators, just like other Mastiff breeds.
Their coats are fawn or brindle, and from afar, they could resemble wolf color. With a massive weight of 50-70 kilograms (110-150lbs) for males and 40-60 kilograms (88-132lbs) for females, the Spanish Mastiff makes a wonderful protector.
Their temperament is that of aloofness and composure. It will be fast enough when necessary, and moderate exercise is enough to keep it at its best physical state.
Its deep bark is suitable for vast, open spaces as opposed to little, confined spaces. It might not be an ideal pet for an apartment, urban setting.
Worth noting is that socialization and training are key from a young age. Once properly trained, the Spanish Mastiff will efficiently protect pets, children, and livestock in the home.
The Karakachan livestock guard dog breed is an alert, independent breed, also known as Bulgarian shepherd.
It is a very domineering dog, and aloof with strangers. It is proud and territorial, making it an ideal LGD.
The Karakachan is a remarkably large dog with a white coat with black or brown spots. A male Karakachan weighs 45-75 kilograms while the females weigh between 40 and 52 kilograms.
A very strong-willed and hardworking dog, the Karakachan is intelligent and works with minimum guidance once properly trained.
They patrol and guard their flock devotedly, and are ideal livestock guard dogs worth considering.
Getting your ideal LGD should be an informed decision. The breed and temperament will determine how well your dog takes care of your chickens.
Go for well-trained dogs, or better still, train puppies from a young age. Growing up with other pets and children will socialize your dog amply, giving you not only a best friend but also a fierce protector for your home.